New 2022 Subaru Solterra electric SUV: details, pictures and STI concept

Subaru’s first electric car will be launched in mid-2022, with a choice of front or four-wheel drive; STI concept teases potential high-performance version to come

Subaru Solterra STI Concept

Subaru has given a first look at what could become a high-performance version of its new electric SUV. The Solterra STI Concept (below) was unveiled at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon; it's strictly a concept car for now, but a production version could rival the Volkswagen ID.4 GTX, as well as top-of-the-range versions of the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Kia EV6.

The STI Concept features an eye-catching cherry-red front splitter, side skirts and accents behind the rear wheels, as well as a gloss-black roof spoiler wearing the brand’s famous STI logo, plus black alloy wheels with a cheery-red accent spoke.

No power output or performance figures have been revealed, but we'd expect a potential STI production model to feature a more potent version of the top-spec Solterra’s dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup. A performance-focused version of the Solterra’s sister car, the Toyota bZ4X, called the 'GR Sport Concept' also made its debut at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon.

Subaru Solterra battery, motor and range

Subaru took the wraps off the standard Solterra in November 2021. As well as being a sister model to the bZ4X, the zero-emissions SUV also shares underpinning with the Lexus RZ. It’ll rival the likes of the Audi Q4 e-tron, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y when it arrives next year.

Two versions of the Solterra will be available from launch, both powered by a 71.4kWh battery. The front-wheel-drive version of the new SUV produces 201bhp from its single electric motor and is capable of covering up to 330 miles on a charge. The all-wheel-drive Solterra, meanwhile, gets an additional electric motor on the rear axle, which increases power to 215bhp, but also reduces range to around 285 miles.

Subaru Solterra

However, the dual-motor version of the Solterra also features an 'X-Mode AWD' setting for the electric drivetrain, which Subaru says has been designed for use on rougher roads, while a new 'Grip Control' function allows the car to maintain a constant speed and remain stable off-road.

The Solterra will be around the same size as the current Subaru Forester SUV and is built on the new e-Subaru Global Platform, dedicated to electric vehicles. The platform was co-developed with Toyota; as mentioned above, it also underpins the bZ4X. Notably, the battery serves as a part of the structure in both cars, which promises a low centre of gravity and strong rigidity.

The Solterra's black wheelarches, angular styling and sharp headlights are shared with its Toyota sister car, with the Subaru set apart only by a different front grille and rear light arrangement. The same is true inside, with the Solterra also featuring a digital gauge cluster and large central touchscreen for the infotainment. 

Subaru Solterra interior

Subaru's car is capable of the same 150kW rapid charging speed as the bZ4X, so a top up from near-empty to 80% from a fast enough charging point should only take around half an hour. Boot space also should be the same as the Toyota bZ4X's 452 litres.

Prices for the Solterra have yet to be revealed, but we expect it to cost from just over £40,000, to match the bZ4X’s £41,950 starting price, as well as those of rivals like the Skoda Enyaq iV and Volkswagen ID.4. Front-wheel-drive Solterras will come with 18-inch wheels as standard, while the all-wheel-drive model will be offered with either 18 or 20-inch alloys. A sunroof will also be available as an optional extra.

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